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Riverside and Avondale, located off I-95 just west of Downtown, are two of Jacksonville’s most beautiful and historic neighborhoods. The once quiet plantation area became a bustling residential and commerce center around the 1920’s. Since then, the community has worked hard to preserve its history and architecture. Both Riverside and Avondale are listed as National Register Historic Districts.
Avondale – on the land of former Magnolia Plantation land, features more uniformed architecture, in the style of Mediterranean Revival.
Brooklyn- This now active commerce area was once a thriving little community of African Americans, made up mostly of former African American soldiers who had occupied Jacksonville during the latter part of the Civil War.
Five Points – known for its edgy and eclectic style homes this district has many independent businesses and restaurants.
King Street District- an industrial part of Jacksonville has been reborn; the warehouse structures and homes have been returned to life with murals and artwork.
Silvertown – an African American subdivision developed in 1887, a few wood-frame homes from the original development are still standing in this area.
Shoppes of Avondale- Founded in the mid 1920’s this shopping district keeps that small-town feel. The businesses here are mostly all locally owned.
Going over 95N, Exit for Post Street. Post, Park, King Street and Riverside Avenue are the main streets of this area.
STOP 1: Riverside Arts Market (RAM): On the right side under the Fuller Warren Bridge (Fuller Warren Bridge and Riverside Avenue) is where RAM is hosted every Saturday. Artists and entrepreneurs will line the street showcasing their products to the public, live music plays, and local fare is served.
STOP 2: Cummer Museum: On the left side at Riverside Avenue and Post Street is the Cummer Museum of Art. This museum was founded in 1961 and contains one of the world’s most extensive collections of Meissen porcelain.
STOP 3: Memorial Park: If you keep heading down Riverside Avenue, Memorial Park is one of our most popular parks with river-front views. This is the third oldest park in Jacksonville designed by the famous Olmsted Brothers, their firm also laid out the Biltmore Estate, several National Parks and numerous college campuses. You’ll want to stop to take a picture or sit back and read a book here. Check out the beautiful bronze statue “Life” located near the river.
STOP 4: Riverside Park: Take a right on Post Street, which will veer off to the left at Post Street and Margaret, on the right side is Riverside Park. This 11-acre public park is the second oldest park in the city.
STOP 5: Five Points: This popular shopping, dining and nightlife district is one of Jacksonville’s most favorite local hangouts. Stop for a coffee at Brew and while you’re there, grab a kolache. Shop around at the eclectic shops, Glass Goods is a unique apothecary and you can grab a bite to eat at one of more than a dozen restaurants including local-favorite Hawkers. The Sun-Ray Cinema was the first movie theater in Florida equipped to feature talking movies. This theater was originally the Riverside Theater and opened in 1927.
STOP 6: Bold City Brewery: Jacksonville is a beer lovers’ destination and you can find some of the city’s best brews in Riverside. Bold City Brewery is on north King Street at King and Rosselle Street, and while you’re there ask for the Jax Ale Trail passport.
STOP 7: King Street District: Often referred to as the “bars” in Riverside, this area has a lot of character to it! From fine selections of beers and food at Kickbacks Gastropub and fun arcade games and beer at Keg and Coin area is sure to mix up the fun. This area is a hot spot for culture, cuisine, and entertainment.
STOP 8: St. Vincent’s Medical Center Riverside: A 528 bed hospital founded in 1916 by The Daughters of Charity. This hospital repeatedly earns “A” ratings in patient safety by The Leaf Frog Group. The hospital is also rated in the top 100 hospitals in spinal surgery. There is a planned 55-million-dollar expansion planed for the hospital to boost up their cardiovascular programs.
STOP 9: Shoppes of Historic Avondale: Known as a place that promotes local business, arts, and culture. The historic shoppes of Avondale are a continuation of the Riverside neighborhood. This area is home to a diverse range of local shops and restaurants and has a traditional neighborhood design perfect for walking and exploring.
STOP 10: Robert E Lee School: This high school is the second oldest school in Jacksonville. Established in 1927, Robert E Lee school was built during the progressive education movement. The school’s open-air design with large hallways, courtyard and windows make this building very special. If you are a southern rock fan, this school is where the members of the famed Lynyrd Skynyrd band first met!
STOP 11: Boone Park: Purchased in 1926 from William Elijah Boone, the park has been a prominent public area in Avondale. In 1936 a house was constructed here for the girl scouts. The tennis courts in Boone Park were the location for city run tennis competitions for decades.
Be sure to see the historic homes in Riverside. There are some beautiful and significant historic homes in this area. For a tour of them, go HERE.